Louisiana benefited from more than $8.7 billion in defense spending during the 2012 fiscal year, according to a summary of an economic impact analysis commissioned by the state.
There were an estimated 82,700 military jobs in the state that account for 4.35 percent of overall employment. It generated $287 million in state and local taxes in fiscal 2012, according to the initial findings of the study, which is expected be fully completed in the coming weeks.
Overall, the military presence pumped $5.2 billion into the Louisiana economy last year, which includes payroll for employees from the Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard and Louisiana Military Department, as well as contracts associated with these installations.
“We strongly support our military men and women in Louisiana as well as the installations at which they are based,” said Stephen Moret, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary. “Accordingly, we have committed a great deal of staff time to developing and maintaining strong relationships with military installation leaders here as well as their superiors at the Pentagon.”
The defense contracts related to petroleum, shipbuilding and other industries was $2.8 billion. Petroleum refining was the top industry sector, with more than a quarter of all 2012 fiscal contracts in the state. Shipbuilding was second and repairing armored vehicles, tank and tank component manufacturing was third, the report found.
Textron Inc. was the top Louisiana defense contractor during 2012, gaining $455 million in military contracts for building armored vehicles. Placid Refining ranked second with $358 million in contracts, while Bollinger Shipyard ranked third with $282 million in contracts for building Coast Guard vessels.
The ten parishes in southeast Louisiana, including metropolitan New Orleans, hold an estimated $527 million for military employment and installations contracts. These include the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans in Algiers, the National Guard Jackson Barracks, 8th Coast Guard District operations and the Space and Naval Warfare System Center Atlantic office at the UNO Research and Technology Park.
The Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse has about two-thirds of the regional military employment and about half the economic output in southeast Louisiana, the study found. The installation has an estimated $340 million economic impact in the region according to the Navy.
The Fort Polk base in west-central Louisiana, which avoided significant base cuts earlier this year, gained the most in direct military installation spending in the state. It gained more than $1.3 billion in spending during fiscal 2012 and employed nearly 16,000 people with a combined estimated amount of $600 million in payroll.
The study “confirms what our city has always known: Fort Polk is our economy,” Leesville Mayor Robert Rose told the Times Picanune.